By Martie Thompson
Sisters Rebecca Day and Jen Day Thompson grew up in a musical family, so it’s really no surprise that making music has become not only a passion for them, but also a career. Performing locally and regionally since 2013 as the Crazy Daysies (suggested by their father, the name reflects a play on their last name), they consider themselves first and foremost as singer songwriters. The sisters were born in South Carolina and moved to Jacksonville due to their father’s job relocation. Jen was already in college, attending the University of South Carolina; she transferred to the University of North Florida where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in criminology. She is married to David Thompson and they share two small children. Rebecca was in middle school when the family moved to Jacksonville; she attended one year at Mandarin Middle School and then graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, where she majored in creative writing. She has an associate’s degree in art from Florida State College at Jacksonville. She is married to Joshua Knight and they share a rambunctious miniature schnauzer named Rusty. Both sisters, as well as their parents, live in Mandarin. Rebecca said that Mandarin is “home” and they love living here.
Q: What is your musical background?
Jen: In elementary school, the orchestra from the University of South Carolina held an assembly to introduce us to all the different instruments. I heard the sound of the viola and was drawn to it. I played in the orchestra in middle school and high school and performed in the All State orchestra in South Carolina. But when we moved to Mandarin and I was in college, I got away from music and didn’t play regularly for 11 years. I would occasionally take out my viola just to assure myself that I could still play! When Rebecca started her acoustic shows, she invited me to play with her and we’ve been together ever since.
Rebecca: I always knew I wanted to write and play music. I began by playing the guitar and became serious about it and songwriting after a lengthy illness when I was 12. Songwriting became therapy for me. When I was 16, I earned second place in a songwriting competition at Douglas Anderson. I was the only non-music major to place. I was paid $150 and this was the first time I was paid for my music. After finishing my associates degree at FSCJ, I went to just one (very long!) day at the University of North Florida and I could tell it wasn’t for me. I came home and told my mom that I wanted to be a musician and she supported me. Within two weeks I had booked my first paid gig at a wine bar in 2011 and I never looked back. I performed two years as a solo artist and then Jen joined me.
Q: Describe the Crazy Daysies’ style of music.
Rebecca: I called it “swampy.” Our major influence is the singer-songwriter kind of country music as well as blues along with poetic influences in our lyrics, because our mom is a poet.
Q: How do you write songs?
Rebecca: Since I play the guitar, I write lyrics and chord progressions kind of together. Then I’ll pass it along to Jen, who will add her viola piece and melodies.
Jen: I often have a general melody in my head and then it seems that Rebecca can make it happen! It’s really fun to write together. Some of our favorite memories are spending the day together, maybe at the pool, and we end up with a couple of new songs.
Q: What is your favorite thing about performing together?
Rebecca: The fact that we are sisters, we mentally operate differently and that makes us work really well together. There’s such a level of trust. We’ve always been very close. I think being able to experience performing music as sisters is a really unique experience.
Jen: I agree! For me, the first thing that I liked about performing was it allowed me to be at home with my children and still earn money. But it has evolved to a pride of being a part of this family effort.
The Crazy Daysies perform regularly at local bars and restaurants that have an emphasis on live music, as well as at various local festivals. They also perform live on Facebook each Thursday at 6:30 p.m., “Live from Ja’Ville.” Visit www.thecrazydaysies.com for more information.
Photo courtesy Rebecca Day
Jen Day Thompson and Rebecca Day